Impact of Outdoor Activities on Pre-school Children’s Physical Skill Development in Langata Sub County, Nairobi County, Kenya
The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of outdoor activities on physical skill development of preschool children in Langata Sub County. According to Frost (2002), too many educators, politicians and parents, believe outdoor play takes time away from academic activities. As a result, outdoor activities in many preschools is limited or eliminated. Further, programs that do not advocate outdoor play often focus on learning cognitive and academic skills, rather than encouraging needed physical pursuits and social interactions. Major reasons for this problem are the adoption of academic standards by parents and even Ministry of Education on academic performance. The idea has left pre-school children unhealthy e.g. being obese or overweight because they don’t get a chance to exercise and learn new skills through outdoor activities. The objectives of this study were: To examine how types of outdoor activities influence children’s physical skill development, to examine how the provision of outdoor play facilities and equipments influence children’s physical skill development, to establish whether the time provided for outdoor activities influences children’s physical skill development and to determine how the role of teachers in outdoor activities influences children’s physical skill development. The study used a sample of 12 head teachers, 24 teachers and 360 pre-scholars. The instruments used in this study were questionnaires, interview guide, and observation schedule and resource checklist. The schools with outdoor play facilities and equipment and exposed their children to the facilities had more children who had developed physical skills. Time provision for outdoor play is very important however if time is not adequate, the children would not master the physical skills. The schools that provided adequate time for children to perform tasks had their children develop physical skills. The role of teachers in outdoor activities influences children’s physical development because the skills will need to be taught for the children to master and learn. The schools that provided different types of outdoor activities like directed and free play, had their children develop physical skills. The study concluded that there is need to take children for outdoor activities, then involve them in different types of play, provide play facilities and equipment, and the teacher to teach outdoor activities just like other activities in the timetable.
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